Tsunami in Indonesia: Over 300 people have died in Indonesia's powerful earthquake, tsunami
Nearly 400 people were killed when a powerful quake sent a tsunami barrelling into the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, officials said Saturday, as hospitals struggled to cope with hundreds of injured and rescuers scrambled to reach the stricken region. The national disaster agency put the official death toll so far at 384, all of them in the tsunami-struck city of Palu, but warned the toll was likely to rise.
In Palu -- home to around 350,000 people -- partially covered bodies lay on the ground near the shore, the morning after tsunami waves 1.5 metres (five feet) high slammed into the city. Hospitals were overwhelmed by the influx of injured, with many people being treated in the open air, while other survivors helped to retrieve the remains of those who died.
There were also concerns over the whereabouts of hundreds of people preparing for a beach festival that had been due to start Friday evening, the disaster agency said.
Here are the highlights on the Indonesia Tsunami, Earthquake:
Indonesia Eartquake:Major quake and tsunami cause deaths in Indonesian city, reports news agency Reuters
A tsunami caused deaths when it hit a small city on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday after a major quake, collapsing buildings and cutting off power, officials said, although the exact number of casualties was not clear, said a report of news agency Reuters.
The tsunami up to 2 metres (six feet) high struck beaches as dusk fell in Palu, a sleepy but growing tourist resort, and the nearby fishing town of Donggala, closest to the epicentre of the quake 27 km away, officials said, according to Reuters.
"The earthquake and tsunami caused several casualties ... while initial reports show that victims died in the rubble of a collapsing building," National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told reporters. "The number of casualties and the full impact is still being calculated."
Sutopo said the disaster caused a power outage that cut communications in Donggala and surrounding areas. The Communications Ministry is working to repair 276 electricity base stations, the Reuters report said.
Officials said aftershocks, the communications breakdown and the power outage made it hard to coordinate rescue efforts.
More than 600,000 people live in Palu and Donggala.
"When the (tsunami) threat arose yesterday, people were still doing their activities on the beach and did not immediately run and they became victims," Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency BNPB was quoted by Reuters as saying in a news briefing in Jakarta.
Nugroho described the damage as "extensive" with thousands of houses, hospitals, shopping malls and hotels collapsed, a bridge washed away and the main highway to Palu cut off due to a landslide.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman of Indonesia disaster mitigation agency BNPB, holds a news conference to brief on the latest situation after a strong quake and tsunami hit at Sulawesi island, at the BNPB headquarters in Jakarta.
Indonesian soldiers load emergency supplies into a Hercules military plane before heading to Palu at Halim Perdanakusuma military base in Jakarta.
Pictures supplied by the disaster agency showed a badly damaged shopping mall in Palu where at least one floor had collapsed onto the storey below, while other photographs showed major damage to buildings and large cracks across pavements.
Residents sit on the ground for safety reason after an earthquake hit at outside of Mutiara Sis Al Jufri airport in Palu.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo said the military was being called in to the disaster-struck region to help search-and-rescue teams get to victims and find bodies.
The tsunami was triggered by a strong quake that brought down buildings and sent locals fleeing for higher ground as a churning wall of water crashed into Palu, where there were widespread power blackouts.
People stand outside of damage hospital after an earthquake hit in Palu
In 2010, about 430 were killed when a 7.8 magnitude quake triggered waves that pound the isolated region of Mentawai, off the coast of Sumatra.
More than 600 were killed in 2006 when another large quake triggered a tsunami off the coast of Indonesia's most-populous Java island.
In Palu -- home to around 350,000 people -- partially covered bodies lay on the ground near the shore, the morning after tsunami waves 1.5 metres (five feet) high slammed into the city.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is regularly hit by earthquakes. In August, a series of major quakes killed over 500 people in the tourist island of Lombok and destroyed dozens of villages along its northern coast.